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City Partners with SISD on Truancy Efforts

According to the Grant Administrator for the City of Smithville, Jill Strube, “The ‘Smithville Truancy Reduction Program’ is a cooperative effort between the City of Smithville Municipal Courts and Smithville Police Department, the Smithville Independent School District, and the nonprofit Smithville Community Gardens. It is designed to help students who are at risk of potentially dropping out of school and developing anti-social tendencies that could put them on the wrong side of the law at some point in their futures. It primarily focuses on reducing truancy and drug offenses and using a mentorship program to divert students from entering the juvenile justice system. It uses a two-pronged approach: 1) a DARE-style anti-drug program to help combat current and potential substance abuse issues at appropriate age levels for students at all grade levels; and 2) using a strong mentorship program designed as an additional step in SISD’s discipline management program that will require students to work in the Smithville Community Gardens to help students connect with positive adult role models who can teach them fundamental lessons in gardening as well as in self-awareness and self-control. Funding ($19,300) was awarded from the Capital Area Council of Governments through a Juvenile Justice Grant program for contract work for mentorship, training, and supplies and materials.”

“The program has several positive points. First, it gives the campus administration another opportunity to work with students and their families to reiterate the importance of attendance. It is also a wonderful partnership that supports students and the community,” states Cheryl Burns, Assistant Superintendent of Smithville ISD. She goes on to say that the district is, “very pleased with the implementation of the program and the overall responses from the school, community, parents and students.”

“The Smithville Police Department and SISD are certain that this collaborative effort will help Smithville youth and this community to reach students who might otherwise fall through the cracks and enter the juvenile justice system,” asserted Jill Strube.

David Edwards, the Federal Programs Coordinator with Smithville ISD, explains, “The grant impacts 4 major areas – it allows students to regain attendance that otherwise might cause them to lose credit due to state minimum attendance laws, it decreases a student’s likelihood of being assigned to the DAEP for persistent misconduct, it allows for students to develop healthy relationships with their adult mentors, and it accomplishes all of this while providing a much needed service to the Smithville community. Smithville ISD is grateful for the partnership with the City of Smithville and the Smithville Community Gardens and look forward to continuing the grant program in the 2017-18 school year.”
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